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I was part of the 2016 class of Caltech’s SURF (Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship). It was a dream come true to be working at 21 at NASA. The internship was held in the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA, USA. My advisors were Dr. Andres Plazas, Dr. Charles Shapiro and Dr. Eric Huff. We worked together with the science division lead by Dr. Jason Rhodes
The observed accelerated expansion of the Universe is one of the biggest enigmas in our current understanding of cosmology and Dark Energy (DE) could be the explanation for it. In order to untangle the science of DE, a new space observatory is being created by NASA: Wide-Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST). It will map the distribution of Dark Matter (DM) along cosmic history and study its evolution, with the purpose of constraining DE using the Weak Gravitational Lensing (WL) technique. However, WL measurements require a very high observational precision that includes a detailed characterization of all possible systematic errors that might bias the detection of the signal. Part of these errors arise from effects from the photon-detecting devices, which in the WFIRST case will be Near Infrared (NIR) detectors. There are several effects still unknown that can bias the precise obtaining of the images. So, this works intends to detect and characterize possible aberrations inherent to the WFIRST’s NIR devices in order to make images more accurate. To fulfill this objective, we take data from Caltech’s Precision Projector Laboratory and analyze the images by performing data reduction corrections regarding the voltage non-linearity behavior of these NIR detectors.